If you don’t ski or snowboard, it does not mean you have to stick to warm beach destinations as winter approaches. There are many places all over the world where you can take advantage of the snowy winter weather and participate in unique activities unlike any other during the year.
Quebec City and its surrounding area is a hidden gem of a winter wonderland. From the Montmorency falls which still flows even in the dead of winter (the speed of the water flow is so fast that the water doesn’t freeze) to the various activities at Valcartier (think extreme snow tubing), there are plenty to do in Quebec City in the winter for all ages. To top it all off, from January-April, the Hotel de Glace a.k.a. Ice Hotel will be open both for tourists who want to see what it’s about during the day or the brave souls who want to spend the night in the icy rooms.
Iceland has been a popular tourist destination all year round lately, but the season doesn’t stop when winter comes, thanks to not only the beauty of the country but also the possibility of catching a glimpse of the northern lights. In addition, you can also still scuba dive in the winter. It also happens to be the only place where you can dive in between the Eurasian and North American continents! The water at this place, called, Silfra, is perpetually around ~32F, so it’s not much warmer in the summer. On some winter days, the water temperature is warmer than the air. Between this and northern lights hunting, there are geysers and waterfalls you can venture out to see.
Sure, there are in fact many outstanding ski resorts in Hokkaido within a short throw from Sapporo - some of the best in Japan, but the town is home to more than just a gateway to these resorts in the winter. In addition to the great Japanese food, Sapporo is also home to the Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo Yuki Matsuri). The festival features spectacular snow and ice sculptures which attract more than 2 million visitors worldwide every year. For 2017, the Sapporo Snow Festival will be held on February 6-12.
4. Ice Castles
These are technically more than one destination, as there will be ice castles at five locations this winter: Midway (UT), Lincoln (NH), Stillwater (MN), Wisconsin Dells (WI), and Endonton (AB). Each ice castle is 25 million pounds of ice that’s built every winter. About 10,000 icicles are grown each day to maintain the castles. With music and light shows, ice slides, and tunnels, these ice castles are a fun place to bring families out for the day.
Finland is another country that is wonderful for nothern lights viewing, and if you’re averse to waiting it out in the cold outside air, Finland offers a number of luxurious glass-encased lodging where you can glimpse the aurora from the comfort of your own hotel beds. There are the glass igloos at Hotel Santa Claus in Rovaniemi, or the Aurora Bubble at multiple locations in Finland which can be combined with husky safari, reindeer safari, or a snowmobile ride to an amethyst mine.
If you haven’t planned to go to any of the places above, remember that you city can be your winter wonderland too! Discover unique local winter must-do in your area HERE!
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